Hey People ,
Just want to say what an awesome forum Travellerspoint is and I've been reading TONS of thread and everyone gives really helpful detailed answers so i already really appreciate all the info everyones taken the time to reply with. Me and my friend Wez are 22 and have just left University. We are looking forward to experiencing culture, nightlife, partying, scenery, hikes, nature and general adventure all in good balance. We have found tons of info on all the countries and are looking for some feedback from the good people at travellerspoint.
We are departing on 1st September from the UK and Our route is...
Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Chang Mi. - 2 months
Notes - Fly into bangkok for a night or two do islands down south for the first month then up to Cambodia, Vietnam(getting motorbikes out and taking them the distance of vietnam) Laos and Chang Mi and then back to bangkok.
Questions - what order do you recommend doing Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos Chiang Mai in? (we need to end up back at Bangkok airport to fly to...
Honk Kong - 3 weeks
Notes - Just experiencing the city. We are meeting someone out there we know to show us around.
Questions - Just any awesome experience you have had would be cool to hear... crazier the better
Bali/Gili - 3 weeks
Notes - Fly into Kuta for a weeks good nightlife then off to paradise that is Gili+beautiful northern Bali.
Questions - Again my friend has been before so know a fair amount about this little beaut. However any crazy stories/experiences are more than welcome
Australia - 4 months
Notes - Traveling the East 'Sunshine Coast' from South to North visiting Melbourne > Sydney > Gold Coast Brisbane > Rockhampton > Cairns and all the places in-between. Stopping for a few weeks in places we like to work for a few weeks to experience the Australian life and boost the travel funds.
Questions - Anything you think we need to be aware of/need? places that are MUST sees? general experiences.
New Zealand - 5 weeks
Notes - Flying into Auckland we are exploring the North Island first and then on to the south where we are getting a camper van and driving the West coast mountain ranges down to Queensland and then looping back up to Christchurch and seeing everything in between and then fly out of Christchurch.
Questions -Debating whether to get a camper van for north and south island and take it across on the ferry? or just get one when we get to the south? Plus any experience on our time frame we have set for New Zealand relevant to the distance we want to travel?
Fiji - 2 weeks
Notes - pretty much chill for two weeks and wind down fro the crazy amount of overground travel we plan in NZ.
Questions - Havent really researched Fiji too much. Figure its pretty small, chill and self explanatory when we get there. However if we are underestimating the relaxed vibe of this tropical paradise a heads up will be welcome along with your tales of adventures
Rio De Janeiro - 3 weeks
Notes - Maybe the pièce de résistance of our RTW trip, we managed to plan to to align with the world cup..enough said!
Questions - This is where our questions get vague. There is so much I don't know about this city I wouldn't know what to ask. So any really KEY essentials we need to keep in mind...?
South America - 2 Months
Notes - I may resort to calling this our unknown adventure. We are going from Rio overground to (perhaps through Paraguay?) Argentina > Chile > (perhaps Bolivia?) > Peru > Ecuador and then flying back to the UK from Quito airport. On the way main things we want to do are Andes Mountains and Amazon Rainforest.
Questions - I know there is tons of research to be done on our unknown adventure into South America. But mainly looking for advice on travel as we are doing the whole distance from Rio > Ecuador overground. So easiest/cheapest travel? plus any reality checks on the time frame we may need?
Every bit on information we get is a great help and we massively appreciate the time you take to write back! Also if you have a answer to a question i haven't even though to ask it will be very valuable to know so thanks for letting us pick your brains
Matt and Wez
Great to hear you've found some good advice in the forums.
On the Australia leg of your trip, I think it's a pretty well trodden path and figure you'll probably catch all the main things anyway. On the Melbourne side, be sure to first head westward and check out the Great Ocean Road (and Grampians possibly too). The Great Ocean is the highlight of Victoria - definitely a must-see.
In Fiji relaxing on the beach is certainly the order of the day. But you'll have to choose where to do that relaxing There's lots of options available. Either staying on the main island, Viti Levu, or going a bit more rustic on Vanua Levu. Most people seem to end up on the smaller islands off of Viti Levu; either the Mamanucas or Yasawas. The beaches are generally much nicer on these small islands than on Viti Levu. But Viti Levu has other attractions; village treks and so on.
One note on your scheduling is that you've got a fair chunk of that in Australia. That particular route you have planned doesn't really need to take 4 months and considering Australia is pretty expensive at this point, you could save a LOT of money by moving some of that time to South America / South East Asia. I'm not sure the ability to work will actually help offset the extra costs that Australia brings compared to the cheap destinations. Plus using your 12 month working holiday visa for only a 4 month visit could be considered a bit of a wasted opportunity. You could instead spend 3 months in Australia on a tourist visa and then come back later and stay an entire year if you really liked it All entirely up to you though of course
p.s. I highly recommend mapping out all these plans for fun and good times
Cheers Peter, the advice for Fiji is very helpful, may do a treck then move on to the smaller islands after for the nicer beaches like you suggested. Thats a fair point about Australia, Im in the mindset of going there to live after the RTW trip, so if we used a working visa on our RTW then will I be unable to go back after for a long period of time? Our flights are all flexible so will defiantly be taking your advice into consideration!! Have you any experience in NZ or South America? as I'm curious to see if our overground travel times are feasible
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Feb-2013, at 00:58 by mattyd212 ]
For Australia, note that you'll be arriving at the start of what up north (Brisbane and further) is the wet season. That's over by March, but if you indeed take Peter's advice to shorten it (which I echo; spend that time in New Zealand instead!) then you will run smack into it when following that route. Also, if you're thinking about spending New Years in Sydney: So is everyone else. Book accommodation by May/June if you want someplace decent.
For New Zealand you'll go into autumn. Might get a bit chilly with a campervan in the mountains on the South Island. Doable, but personally I'd prefer a regular rental car and hostels. 5 weeks is otherwise a good time period to cover both islands and get a decent impression of what they have to offer, even if you won't nearly manage to hit all the highlights.
For reference, this is what I'm currently doing (on my 4th visit) during nearly 5 weeks New Zealand, with a heavy focus on hiking, and some regular "must-sees" not included as I've already seen them and my gf isn't that interested in them:
Auckland: 6 days (most taken up by seeing friends and family)
Whangarei: 3 days
Hobbiton: 1 day
Taranaki: 3 days
Tongariro: 3 days
Picton: 1 day
Kaikoura: 3 days
Nelson: 2 days
Nelson Lakes: 3 days
Franz Josef: 3 days
Lake Tekapo: 5 days
(All including 1 day of travel time (generally ~4-6 hours) to get there.)
Im in the mindset of going there to live after the RTW trip, so if we used a working visa on our RTW then will I be unable to go back after for a long period of time?
There is such a thing as a second working holiday visa, buuuut.. you need to have done 3 months of work in regional Australia on your first working holiday visa to be eligible for that. So with that in mind, unless you plan on spending 3 of your 4 months working in regional Australia you will not only squander the 8 months of your first working holiday visa, but you will also not be eligible for the second one.
Something to ponder.
Sorry, no experience on either NZ or South America other than what I've read on the forums over the years or hearsay from other travellers
Ok no worries. Cheers Peter, that's defiantly something major to think about!!
On temperature - if you're starting your Australia leg in Melbourne in March, I reckon that's actually a really nice time to be here. The weather is milder. There are still usually plenty of nice days, but not the hot annoying ones that we have in Jan/Feb. My favourite times of the year in Melbourne are spring and autumn. As you go up the coast, you will be following the warm weather, so it should work out nicely. Reaching Cairns in May should be a good as it's the start of the dry season up there by then.
Ok awesome! cheers for the heads up. This is great advice as who want to travel 'The Sunshine Coast' in the rain right
I just did that SE Asia circuit. Flew into Bangkok, went straight for full moon. Ended up down south (koh Tao, koh phangan, Krabi, koh lanta for a almost a month) koh Tao was my favorite. Then back up to Chiang mai and pai both really nice and the popular spots in north Thailand. Then head into Laos on the slow boat journey (good way to meet loads of people traveling Laos who you will run into off and on as long as your there). From pakse (laos) to Vietnam (hue) down to Saigon. Into Cambodia and back through to Bangkok. (have fun at the poipet border, don't fall for scams and be ready to wait for about 4 hours possibly)
Was my route. Loved it, worked out well